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René Magritte’s oil on canvas 'La Vengeance' sold by Christie’s Paris on June 30 for a hammer price of €12.5m (£10.68m). Image copyright: Christie’s Images Limited.

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They include Christie’s France which has reported sales totals of €205m including premium - representing a 137% increase over the €86.3m for the equivalent period in 2020 and a 147% increase over the €85.2m for the same period in 2019.

Its highest sale total for this first half was the June 23 auction of the Michel Périnet collection of African and Oceanic art which realised a premium-inclusive €66m.

Christie’s highest price in France for the half year was the premium-inclusive €14,552,500 or €12.5m (£10.68m) hammer for René Magritte’s 1936 oil on canvas La Vengeance sold from the Francis Gross collection on June 30.

This is the highest price recorded at auction in France this year, surpassing the premium-inclusive €13,091,250 or €11.25m (£9.7m) hammer paid for Vincent Van Gogh’s painting Scène de rue à Montmartre in Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern sale in Paris on March 25.

French auction firm Osenat held 46 auctions across its four salerooms and recorded sales of €21.5m including premium. This represents an 87% increase on the equivalent period in 2020.

Drouot recovers

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François Xavier Lalanne’s giant model of a duck sold for a hammer price of €1.51m (£1.3m) by Gros et Delettrez at Drouot on April 12. Image copyright: Gros-Delettrez/Drouot.

The Drouot auction centre, where many French firms hold their events, recorded a sales total of €200.5m including premium for those held at the Hôtel Drouot and online in the first half of this year. This, said Drouot, is the same figure as for the equivalent period in 2019.

The top-priced lot recorded at Drouot for the first half of 2021 was the premium-inclusive €1,963,000 or €1.51m (£1.3m) hammer paid for François Xavier Lalanne’s Grand Canard, 1971, a giant model of a duck that was offered in a sale held by Gros & Delettrez on April 12